Ribbon and Lace

About a month ago, we bought our first house. As I planned the boudoir I hoped to have (I got a joke of a second bedroom/large closet instead) , I accumulated a lot of ideas. Last night I had a dream where all the paint swatches I picked up had black lace patterns on them. But really, isn’t that kind of genius? Generally speaking, google image searches incorporating this idea aren’t that great. Maybe it’s because most people have really lame taste in colors so the rooms look like one giant doily, or maybe it’s because the pattern is too small to really discern. But I think there’s some real potential here. It’s just in how you apply it. You can go subtle, or you can go bold.

The most subtle way I can think of is using lace as a stencil to paint over your baseboards. I don’t need to go into too much detail here. But it would be a really cool little accent. You could also take it a step further and use it for the bottom half of your walls to give the effect of wainscotting, either lace itself or again as a stencil for a contrasting or complimentary color. Lace can be applied to your walls using starch, in a method that also allows you to wallpaper with beautiful fabric without any damage to your walls if you’re renting from a nazi. My favorite idea for lace at the moment is using wide lengths of lace ribbon to create vertical stripes. Now that I think of it, you could go gingham with this method too. That is if I’m not talking out my ass on this one. I’m sure some interior decorating genius could make it awesome. The easiest, most dramatic, and unfortunately most expensive method would have to be this. Don’t you just love this?? If I could afford all that lace I think my new big closet would look like this.

So what’s your favorite? Do you have any more ideas?

Now the next thing is something I already do but the picture above gives me ideas for expanding on that. Ribbon as storage. I’m not high. I have a LOT of flower hair clips. There is no box large enough to hold these things. So what I have is a wide gold ribbon from a christmas present hanging from the wall beside my dresser mirror. All my flower and feather hair clips are clipped to this ribbon. They’re easily accessible there and it looks great, like some sort of garland. Now I’m also thinking you can hang a ribbon horizontally to hold and display jewelry in a similar way. You can drape necklaces and bracelets over it. You bought this stuff because it was pretty, you might as well show it off. You could put it at the top or bottom of a mirror or picture, or on a bulletin board. And personally, I would be more inclined to put things back where they belong if it was just tossing them over a ribbon right in front of me. Otherwise I might just leave it on the dresser. I’m not a very neat person, you should see my dresser, it should be declared a national emergency. The other great thing about this is you can adjust your ribbon to the length you need. It’s very versatile, unlike a box that you have to dig to the bottom of and then it gets too small as you get more stuff. I’m really liking this. I think you should do it.

My Love of the Swing Dress

I noticed that despite this being a blog mainly about style, it’s been a while since I actually wrote about CLOTHING. Maybe it’s because I’ve only just recently become somewhat adept at hair and makeup, and new things are exciting. So anyway, I decided to write about something I’ve felt quite strongly about for some time now, my love of the swing dress.
This is not a love I’ve had all my life. When I was a kid, no dress was big or poofy enough for my taste. If I dressed the way I wanted to in my fantasies, I would have needed to block off whole streets to get around. But then, I grew up. An appreciation grew in me for all things sexy, sleek, adult.

When I saw swing dresses, I thought they were horribly frou frou. They were too juvenile and too girly. I wondered how a girl could be taken seriously in them. However once I started to really explore my love of vintage style, I knew I couldn’t avoid them forever. I didn’t have to like them, but I did have to give them a chance.
And this is a perfect example of why stepping out of your comfort zone can be a great thing. I purchased two simple halter swing dressesĀ  in blue from Trashy Diva on clearance for 35$ each, and they immediately revolutionized my wardrobe.

First of all, these particular dresses were about as simple as a plain white tshirt. They begged for some artistic expression. There’s something incredibly appealing about something you can make you own, but that already has the hard work done for you. On one of the dresses I spent days sewing a white ribbon trim an inch or so above the hem. This is now my “sailor dress”, inspired by a dress from Pinup Girl Clothing that I neither could afford nor ever saw available in my size. The second I dyed black, or at least I tried to, since it ended up coming out a dark navy. It’s just as well, because now I plan on sewing a black ribbon to the hem of that one and the two can be good and evil twins.

What I didn’t expect, but should have if I had thought about it any length of time, was how unbelievably comfortable they are. They’re hands down the least restricting thing you can wear below the waist. I feel like I have nothing on at all, and have been tempted many times to fall asleep in them. This is why I find it incredibly amusing when people are so stunned by just how “dressed up” I am to do every day normal activities. One pizza guy nearly lost his damn mind. I’d hate to see how his girlfriend dresses.

But above all else, I would have to say that the most appealing thing about the swing dress is how flattering it is on every body type. Like I’ve said about other vintage style clothes, they don’t hide your curves, they celebrate them. If you don’t have any to begin with, these dresses will create them. Either way, they’re incredibly easy to get in your size, since your hip measurement doesn’t factor in at all, perfect if you’re a different size on top than on the bottom. This is the most universally flattering and easy to wear clothing item I have ever encountered. My mom once had to poke me in the ribs to prove I wasn’t wearing a corset, while I had decided on that dress because I was planning on stuffing my face that day and knew no one would be the wiser. I scoff at people who say their hips are too big, or they’re just generally too fat. I PROMISE you, a swing dress will make you look amazing.

Then finally there’s something to be said about the fantasy factor. If you’ve ever had that familiar weirdo dream of prancing around in Victorian gear, the swing dress can give you the same feeling as being a proper civil war lady without actually looking anywhere near so odd. The way they move when you walk, the beautiful upside-down flower shape you see when you catch yourself in the mirror – all these things are the subtle little somethings that make swing dresses make me feel good. Even when I’m not in the mood for one on a particular day, if it’s all I have to wear and I put it on anyway, it still makes me feel pretty, still puts me in a better mood, so I wonder how I ever could have considered putting on anything else.
So now the formerly anti-frou-frou me is slowly building up a collection. I just got my first true vintage swing dress a couple weeks ago, a gorgeous copper number probably from the early 1960s.

Even if you have any doubts, try one, just once. Get it cheap, because it’s easy, or make one, because that’s easy too. You’ll see. I’ve seen this change of heart happen in others besides myself, and you’ll probably see it in yourself too.

What Is A Slip?

When I was growing up, a slip was just a typical fundamental part of a girl’s wardrobe when wearing a skirt or dress. If you didn’t have one you ran the risk of your clothes not lying smoothly, or even being see-through in the sun. Princess Diana caused a bit of a shock when she was caught in a picture with a long skirt, back to the sun, that distinctly showed off her legs due to her lack of a slip. So because of this, I always assumed it was just as normal for everyone else. I could buy them cheaply at Walmart. I was, I suppose, blissfully ignorant.

Last summer I wanted a new one, not really for modesty’s sake as my dresses are of fairly opaque fabric, but because they’re hand-wash only, and I wanted to keep them cleaner for longer by having something easily washable between me and the dress. I also wanted something much prettier than what Walmart had to offer.

So I went into La Vie En Rose, asked where the slips were and… was met with blank stares. Not even the woman working there who was older than my mom knew what I was talking about. Even after I explained it, they were still confused. Had I just stepped out of a time machine? They tried instead to sell me nightgowns. Pretty, sure, but all those ruffles would leave my clothes looking pretty lumpy, so no thanks.

A friend told me later that this could be because as far as she knew, slips were being called crinolines now. This left me even more confused because crinolines are underskirts that are intended to give volume to a skirt, like a 50s swing skirt or a Victorian skirt. I have a crinoline. It’s not a slip. Nobody wears puffy underskirts made of tulle under wiggle dresses.
So slips are being called crinolines, merry widows and bustiers are being called corsets, what next? Stockings are pantyhose? Camisoles are bras? What’s going on? You would think that in a society where women still wear lingerie the terms wouldn’t get so horribly confused. In our world of minimalism, is lingerie now slowly beginning on its way out? Maybe one day I’ll write a glossary.

Back to the slips. As I said earlier, a slip is something you wear under a skirt (half slip) or dress (full slip) to smooth it out, keep your modesty, and keep the inside of your dress or skirt clean. They can even help keep you warm in the winter and are great for keeping you comfortable in scratchy fabric. Think of it as a liner. And yes, they can sort of look like nightgowns.
Where do you get them? Walmart still has them, I think. The better solution though, is specialty and vintage shops.
For the real deal at good prices you can search Value Village, Goodwill, and yes, Etsy. The ones I have found on Etsy are gorgeous, and in my current financial situation it’s driving me a bit nuts to see all those beautiful things.

Some people don’t like the idea of used lingerie in any capacity, and besides, sometimes a vintage slip just won’t do under more revealing modern clothes. In this case there are places for new slips, such as Her Room which include slimming styles from brands like Spanx. Their way of explaining what a slip is is romantic and spot-on.

So go have a look, and you might discover that slips are not only functional, but another way for you to feel feminine and fabulous every day.